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Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association Names Annual Award Winners

ORLANDO, FL - On Saturday, December 10, 2011 the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association (CFHLA) hosted its annual Hospitality Gala at The Hilton Orlando. During the evening, CFHLA honored its Lodging Member of the Year, Allied Member of the Year, and Engineer of the Year, and presented the prestigious Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award for Community Leadership.

This year’s Lodging Member of the Year Award was presented to Sam Pensula, of the Walt Disney World Company, for his long-time dedication and devotion to CFHLA programs and events. Mr. Pensula has served on the CFHLA Board of Directors for thirteen years. In addition he has served as Co-Chairperson of the Bacchus Bash Committee for the past ten years and has a passion for hospitality education.

The Allied Member of the Year Award was presented to Nick Romeo, of the iFLY Orlando – Indoor Skydiving. Mr. Romeo has been a member of CFHLA for over ten years. In that time, he has served on the Allied Relations Council including the position of Chairman in 2009. He has also served on the CFHLA HEAT – Tradeshow Committee, Hob Nob Committee, Bacchus Bash and Gala Committees for numerous years. Through his efforts, Mr. Romeo has shown his continued dedication to the association and remains an enthusiastic ambassador of CFHLA.

Sam Pensula, Walt Disney World Company Nick Romeo, iFLY Orlando - Indoor Skydiving Eleanor Davis, Waldorf Astoria Orlando & Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek William Davis, Universal Orlando

The Engineer of the Year Award was presented to Eleanor Davis, of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando & Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, for her dedication to the CFHLA Engineers’ Council.  Ms. Davis has been an active member of the CFHLA Engineers’ Council for the past year and has become actively involved in new member recruitment and committee involvement. She was also very instrumental in the Engineers’ Council bike drive at the HEAT Tradeshow, raising $1,700 for bicycles for the women and children at the Women’s Residential and Counseling Center.

The Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award for Community Leadership honors one leader for their personal contributions to the Central Florida community and the regional hospitality industry. This year’s recipient was, William Davis, President and COO of
Universal Orlando.

Mr. Davis is responsible for the oversight of Universal Orlando Resort, including the Universal Studios theme park, the Islands of Adventure theme park and the 30-acre CityWalk entertainment complex. Mr. Davis has 33 years of experience in the theme park industry. Under Bill’s Leadership, Universal Orlando was instrumental in the negotiations of the funding for the three Downtown Venues. In addition, Universal Orlando has developed The Wizarding World of Harry Potter which has been an economic asset for our Central Florida Tourism Industry. Mr. Davis is actively involved in the Central Florida Community, he is the past president and current Executive Committee Board Member of Visit Orlando and has served on the Give Kids the World Board of Directors.

The 2011 CFHLA Hospitality Gala was held on the evening of Saturday, December 10th at the Hilton Orlando. Over 1,000 Hospitality Executives were in attendance, including 9 local elected officials representing Central Florida.

For more information about CFHLA, please visit our website:

Erin K. Hellkamp

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Also See: Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association Elects New Board of Directors and Executive Committee for 2012; Scott Ripoli Named as Chair / November 2011

Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association's 2010 Golden Pineapple Awards Honored Central Florida’s Outstanding Hospitality Employees / January 2011

Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association to Honor Marty Belz, President and Chairman of the Peabody Hotel Group, with the 2010 Charles Andrews Memorial Hospitality Award for Community Leadership / November 2010

Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association Elects 2010 Board of Directors; Paul Tang Voted Chairperson / November 2009

How Much Growth is Too Much? Thousands of New Hotel Room Under Construction in the Orlando Area. Can They Fill Them? / March 2009

Orlando-Area Hotel Occupancy Slips Below 70% to Lowest Rate on Record for Month of July / August 2009

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